Sun Microsystems claims it will steal market share from other Unix vendors and Wintel suppliers with its new workgroup servers, launched this week.
The Enterprise 450, previously codenamed Tasmo, runs up to four 300MHz Ultrasparc processors and is targeted firmly at the workgroup server market occupied by Hewlett-Packard and Compaq.
"The Unix marketplace will increasingly grow towards Sun at the expense of other existing workgroup server vendors, and we will be converting customers of niche vendors who might have been considering a Wintel strategy," said Martyn Lambert, marketing and technology director at Sun.
Sun claimed that Tasmo would average twice the performance of its competitors - depending on the application benchmarked - for a price premium of about 20 per cent.
The new products would be aimed at customers wanting servers to run databases or act as IP, ecommerce and other application servers - about two-thirds of the market. They would not be pitched at the remaining third, which is made up of basic file and print servers, said Lambert.
The company claimed it now has an offering "from smartcard to glasshouse", scaling between one and 64 processors, unlike its competitors.
Tasmo's street pricing policy is unique within the Sun portfolio. The servers are given a 'real' price rather than a suggested price that is then heavily discounted.
No UK prices are available until next week but a fully configured E450 has a suggested US retail price of $14,650. Sun claimed this was comparable to Compaq.
However, despite Sun's attempt at price parity, on Monday Compaq cut prices on its Proliant 6000 server range by upwards of 20 per cent, as it announced its new 6500 and 7000 high availability four-way Intel-based products. Compaq said retail for a Proliant 6000 was now around #8,000.
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